Your neighborhood everyday non-super hero

Revisiting the OG Spider-Mans, plus: She's A Beast New Year's Sale!, why Rogan hates The Rock now, and a swole nativity scene. This is Link Letter 66!

Your neighborhood everyday non-super hero
Spidey breaks a punch from his longtime bully.

Before a couple weeks ago, my partner, bless his pure soul and mind, had never seen any of the Toby Maguire Spider-Man movies that really and truly kicked the constant-superhero-movies times we live in into gear. Part of the reason I hadn’t seen them in a long time is that I know they are unforgettably, indisputably good, just classic entertaining films; they gave rise to all the irreverence packed into today’s superhero movie, but with more purity, less neediness and winking at the camera to make sure you know how clever and irreverent they are. They wove some cheeky texture into this typically earnest genre (cf. the X-Men movie before it) that later installments seized on, eventually turning every movie into a hollow quipping marathon trying to best the quipping pace of the movie that came before it.

I divested from the superhero genre a long time ago, because it's gotten insufferable. But speaking of irreverence, revisiting these Spider-Mans reminded me of the indispensable type of superhero movie scene when the newly-minted superhero, as they just go about their day, realizes their powers. It is not all sunshine and rainbows; Tobey Maguire first accidentally webs a lunch tray. But then he gracefully dodges a punch thrown at the back of his head thanks to his Spidey sense; he knocks a bully on his ass with a single hit.

I am, to be clear, not Spider-Man; I don’t feel actually like Spider-Man. But these scenes come really close to describing how it feels to be strong in a non-elite way, to have my body catch me when I’m off balance, or pick up a heavy thing like it’s nothing.

I grew up thinking of my body as, to put it lightly, the opposite of a source of surprise and delight. Even after a few months of strength training, I was going through motions I’d done thousands of times before, presumably like Tobey Maguire having a punch thrown at him. But the motions were no longer about pain and dread, inconvenient tests I was going to fail. It sucks that the closest thing is a superhero movie, because the tasks I’m talking about are ultimately mundane. Bringing the cat litter in the house is not the same as stopping a runaway train, but the superhero movie knows: The everyday experience of physically existing turning a sudden corner is significant, too.

Today and tomorrow (tag your PLATESLAMS on social media with #plateslam2022!!) are all about achievements. But as I get older and Deterioration Watch begins, I only appreciate more the little plateslams of easily moving a couch; of carrying a Christmas tree; of shredding cardboard boxes like they are diner napkins. Regular hero stuff is enough.

A programming note: This is our last proper newsletter of 2022!! Next week, in lieu of our usual content, I will be running the Swole Woman Hit Parade 2022 with links to all the columns and content you might have missed, or might want to revisit. While I’m not a proponent of New Year New You, it’s hard to resist wanting to straighten your mind and priorities out during this time of year, just a little bit. We will resume our usual posting schedule on January 6. Send this newsletter to a friend so they can sign up in time to catch up >>>


~Discord Pick of the Week:  A shoutout to the #plateslam2022 channel, where folks not on social media have been getting the holiday going either have been posting their PRs!! A beautiful place of personal achievement, including for one person who “bailed on a lift (squat) for the first time ever and stood up yelled ‘counts for plateslam! PR bail!’” Check it out if you are a subscriber~

The mythology of George Balanchine.

Why is everything so ugly?

Relatedly, are we living in an ersatz era? It feels a bit MAGA to say, for instance, only “real” ice cream is made with full fat dairy and only “real” oatmeal is gently stewed in an iron cauldron propped over a hand-built fire, but I get what they are saying.

An illuminating set of slides from Sarah Sapora on her experience using Semaglutide for weight loss, the gist of which seemed to be, it works, but how well (not very) and at what cost?


This will be my last follow up on the L*v*r K*ng situation, loathe as I am to give him attention. But when Joe Rogan dragged The Rock into this situation on the basis of “we are doing steroid accusations now,” I couldn’t resist. I found this tea from, of all places, interesting: Podcast host Anthony Pompilano speculated that Joe Rogan developed his animus toward The Rock because “[The Rock] stopped defending Rogan when the woke mob came for him.” Damn… it is as if you can’t just perpetuate harmful disinformation with no consequences.

Love this whole paragraph:

A collection of obnoxious but nevertheless perplexingly influential morons have been charged with brazenly pumping stocks via Discord, Twitter, and podcasts and then dumping their shares without disclosing that they were doing so, generating $100 million in profits by illegally throwing their own followers—over a million altogether—under the bus and running them over, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

I missed this piece the first time around, but a great meditation on the lacking execution in telling women’s stories in media: The Hollow Impersonation in Blonde.


How Quinta Brunson saved the sitcom.

Why all the “eat the rich” satire looks the same now.

Once you see the truth about cars, you can’t unsee it.

That’s all for this week! I love you for reading, thank you, let’s go—